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review 2019-12-12 14:27
Beyond the Moon
Beyond The Moon - Catherine Taylor
Louisa Casson is having a hard time dealing with the death of her grandmother, her only childhood caretaker, and finds herself on South Downs cliffs.  A storm hits and Louisa falls down the cliffs, she is badly hurt and interned at Coldbrook Hall, a private psychiatric hospital believed to be a suicide risk.  Louisa, who was a medical student before she took care of her grandmother struggles to fit in with the uncompassionate staff and irresponsible medical techniques.  Some patients at Coldbrook help Louisa cope.  One patient shows Louisa the abandoned sector of Coldbrook that served as a hospital during World War I, in this section Louisa finds a room that doesn't look abandoned- and it's not.  Inside, she finds Lieutenant Robert Lovett suffering from shell shock and temporary blindness. Louisa finds that she has somehow traveled to 1916 through Robert's room; however Robert is the only one she can interact with.  After another fall Louisa finds herself in 1917, now she is in France as a VAD nurse, Rose Ashby.  While learning the ins and outs of her new life, she frantically tries searching for Robert again, and wondering which timeline she really belongs to. 
Beyond the Moon is a sweeping time travel romance. Told through alternating views of Louisa and Robert, it seems like the pair might be doomed to be apart in time or space.  From the beginning, Louisa's journey captivated me.  Her passion and willingness to help others shone through.  When Louisa first found Robert, I was worried that it would prolong her time in the psychiatric unit or make her believe that she really did need to be there.  Robert's character is kind and confident.  I loved the first few times that Louisa and Robert were able to be together in 1916, even though no one else was able to see or interact with Louisa, their friendship and romance was able to progress naturally.  Once Louisa falls into 1917 again, the story picks up pace.  I enjoyed seeing Louisa, now living as Rose Ashby, adapt to life 100 years prior and take on the responsibilities of a VAD nurse.  Here, the historical aspects of the story also come to life as the conditions of the field hospital and the patients they received are described in realistic and historically accurate detail.  Robert's experience on the front and as a Prisoner of War was also absorbing, the scenes in the trenches and on the front lines brought the grittiness of the war to light.  Even though Louisa and Robert are both firmly in 1917, it seemed they might still be kept apart, the suspense of them finding one another again kept me rapt right until the end.  I thought the method of time travel and the explanation for Louisa slipping through time was fascinating as well. 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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review 2019-12-10 21:36
A solid if unremarkable pair of adventures
The Man Who Mastered Time / Overlords From Space - Joseph Kelleam,Ray Cummings

The more Ace Doubles I read, the more I come to appreciate how varied the experience of reading them can be. For all of their similarity of their size, their plot-driven approach, and their cover art (which typically consists of square-jawed white dudes inflicting violence on aliens or some other evildoers, often with a woman somewhere in the scene recoiling in terror), the quality and nature of the books can vary widely.


This pair provided the best reflection yet of these differences. Ray Cummings's The Man Who Mastered Time was unusual in that it was not an original work but a reprint of a 1920s story which reads like a riff on H.G. Wells's famous novelette The Time Machine. In it, a father-and-son duo of scientists stumble across a process that allows them to peer into the indeterminate future. Witnessing a beautiful girl imperiled by a thuggish brute, the two turn a hoverable aeroplane into a time machine, which the hormonally-driven son uses to travel thousands of years into the future to rescue the maiden. He soon finds himself in the midst of a political struggle between the people of an ice-age north and the remaining civilization, which has retreated to the Caribbean and reflects a class divide that ol' Herbert George would have found familiar (seriously, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to find that he sued for copyright infringement). The young man soon summons his father for aid, and with the help of a friend, aid the civilized underdogs against the barbarian hordes. There are some aspects of the novel – such as the employment of "girls" in combat – that but for the most part it's a prime piece of pulp science fiction, and while it had it's share of problematic elements (the scientist's friend zeroing in on the beautiful girl's teenage sister seemed a little predatory even for the time) I enjoyed it for the action adventure it was.


The other novel was Joseph Kelleam's Overlords from Space. Here there was a real contrast with Cummings's novel; whereas Cummings has heroic adventurers as his protagonist, Kelleam's novel centers around humans enslaved by the Zarles, an alien species who conquered the Earth two centuries before. Though their domination of the Earth seems absolute, the ostensibly immortal Zarles are slowly dying from terrestrial disease. Worse they cannot reproduce, and the remaining Zarles are contemplating destroying the Earth and moving on elsewhere. It's a different premise from the ones I expect from the time, though the plot itself moves to familiar beats involving freedom, the discovery of resources and allies that can even the odds, and a climactic battle in which the outcome isn't really in doubt. In this respect it's as much a product of its time as Cummings's older novel (which ends, I kid you not, with a Jazz Age party), though one that proved entertaining enough to see through to its end.

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review 2019-12-10 07:14
A Twist in Time: How the Rope Age Made Mankind by Ashley Cowie
A Twist in Time: How the Rope Age Made Mankind - Ashley Lambie Cowie

TITLE:  A Twist in Time: How the Rope Age Made Mankind


AUTHOR:  Ashley Cowie




FORMAT:  Kindle





Presenting an entirely new perspective on prehistory, A Twist in Time demands we re-engineer our views of the Stone Age. Revealing that ancient Britons used advanced rope making, measuring and surveying skills over two millennium before Greek mathematicians formalised geometry as a science, A Twist in Time introduces a new ancient landscape bound together with rope. Welcome to the Rope Age.

After examining the rope crafts in structures such as the Great Pyramids in Egypt, A Twist in Time explores Neolithic settlements, standing stone circles and burial chambers in Britain. New observations in the designs and measurements of stone super structures such as; Ring of Brogar and Skara Brae in Orkney and Newgrange in Ireland suggest an elite class of rope specialists controlled rope production, measuring, surveying, designing and building projects in Neolithic Britain.

A Twist in Time follows the trail of these ancient proto-scientists to the North of Scotland and by re-interpreting many of the 'sacred' and 'ritualistic' artefacts discovered at ancient sites, the author provides evidence that many were simple rope making, measuring and surveying devices. Using ropes and wooden posts, notions of mystery and magic are replaced with rope crafts skills as light is shed on this greatly unexplored, yet vastly important, aspect of human history.





A short but interesting look at how ropes were (possibly) used to build megalithic structures (and by default societies) in the Stone Age, with a focus on the archaeology of Neolithic sites such as the Ring of Brogar and Skara Brae in Orkney and Newgrange.  The subtitle is misleading, as only a small portion of the globe is examined in this book, with but a passing mention of Egyptian use of ropes and Incan quipus.  None the less, still something to think about.


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text 2019-12-10 03:40
Reading progress update: I've read 173 out of 320 pages.
The Man Who Mastered Time / Overlords From Space - Joseph Kelleam,Ray Cummings

From the point at which I last left off the novel developed into a fairly standard good-guys-versus-bad-guys match-up. The time machine's inventor and his friend join the inventor's son in the future to fight the bad guy. Is it really a spoiler to tell you that the good guys emerge triumphant? And in the end they all live happily ever after in the best Gatsby-era New York style, dressed in formal wear and sipping cocktails while listing to one of their number belt out a tune on a piano. So utterly devoid of suspense or imagination. I enjoyed every pulpy page of it.


Now it's on to Joseph Kelleam's Overlords from Space. I suspect I won't be quite the square-jawed adventure of Cummings's tale.

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text 2019-12-09 20:14
Reading progress update: I've read 275 out of 291 pages.
The Gap of Time - Jeanette Winterson


And suddenly this has turned into a very soppy episode of Eastenders...

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